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Maryland hits key benchmark with 70% of adults having at least one COVID vaccine shot

Maryland hit a significant target in its battle against the coronavirus by at least partially vaccinating 70% of adults as of Memorial Day — reaching a goal set by Gov. Larry Hogan.

“Today — the last day in May — California and Maryland became the 11th and 12th states to top 70% of adults with at least one COVID shot!” Ronald Klain, the White House Chief of Staff tweeted Monday afternoon.

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The states are ahead by more than a month on the goal set by Democratic President Joe Biden to vaccinate at least 70% of Americans by July 4. White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has said reaching that milestone could help avoid a spike in cases when the weather gets colder in the fall.

“In Maryland, our goal was to get 70% of adults vaccinated by Memorial Day, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Hogan tweeted. “Thank you to all of our vaccinators, and to the millions of Marylanders who have stepped up to get the vaccine.”

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The state did not immediately update its website Monday with the latest vaccination totals, so the number of shots went into people’s arms in the past 24 hours wasn’t immediately known.

But the state site reported Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate fell below 1.5%, a new low. And state health officials reported just 117 new cases Monday of COVID-19 — the lowest total recorded since March 25, 2020, when the state had 76 new cases in a 24-hour period early in the pandemic.

Here’s how the Maryland Department of Health’s coronavirus measures broke down on the holiday:

Cases

There were 117 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state to 459,894 total cases since March 2020.

These numbers represent a steep decline from as recently as early April, when the state was regularly exceeding 1,500 new diagnosed cases a day and on one occasion swept past 1,800.

Deaths

State health officials reported seven more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the state’s fatalities to 9,402 in 14 months.

Hospitalizations

Currently, 333 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to COVID-19, a decline of 13 since Sunday. Of those hospital inpatients, 87 require intensive care.

Positivity

The statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate was 1.47% Monday, down from 1.57% a day earlier. It’s the seventh consecutive day that health officials have reported a testing positivity rate below 2%.

An additional 7,693 coronavirus tests were completed in the past 24 hours.

Vaccinations

As of Sunday, the last day for which updated vaccination data was released, more than 2.9 million Marylanders have been fully vaccinated, or about 48.01% of the state’s population.

This represents a dramatic improvement since early January, when Maryland was rated as the worst state in the U.S. for its vaccine rollout program because of the slowness with which it was putting shots into people’s arms.

The pace picked up significantly in March and April, following the opening of the first of what are now 13 mass vaccination sites statewide.

In a statement celebrating the 70% vaccination milestone, Hogan said the state’s work was not yet done.

“With a summer of mobile clinics ahead, we will continue to do all we can to make sure no arm is left behind,” the Republican governor said.

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